NBL's first round to be played in Queensland and South Australia

The first round of the 2020-21 NBL season will be played exclusively in Queensland and South Australia after travel restrictions forced the league to make yet another change to its schedule.

The opening game of the new season will now take place in Adelaide, with the 36ers and Melbourne United to face each other on Friday, January 15.

Adelaide will host another game later in the round - a matchup with the South East Melbourne Phoenix on January 17 - while the only other confirmed games are a pair set to take place in Cairns; the Taipans facing the Sydney Kings on January 16, before taking on the Hawks on January 18.

The NBL is hopeful that a game between the Brisbane Bullets and a to-be-confirmed opponent can take place in Brisbane on January 16, but that's subject to the guidance by state health authorities. Greater Brisbane is currently in the midst of a three-day lockdown in an attempt to halt the spread of the UK strain of the coronavirus that escaped hotel quarantine.

Saturday's announcement marks the third time the NBL has publicly announced changes to the season's schedule, as outbreaks of COVID-19 and ensuing travel restrictions continue to disrupt the league's plans.

"The latest changes to the schedule have been made necessary by the developments in Queensland where we currently have five teams, Brisbane Bullets, Cairns Taipans, Melbourne United, Adelaide 36ers and Perth Wildcats," Jeremy Loeliger, the NBL's Commissioner, said on Saturday.

"We will start the season in Cairns and Adelaide, but we will continue to monitor the situation in Brisbane in the hope we can also host a game there in the opening round.

"We will continue to stay flexible and be guided by the relevant state health authorities but our intention is still for all teams to play 14 home games across the season when they are able to do so."

The NBL's announcement was accompanied by a statement from the Wildcats, who say they will fly from Brisbane to Perth on Saturday night and go into quarantine. The Wildcats were in Brisbane for a pair of preseason games.

The defending champions won't have a game in the opening round of the season, with its two previously scheduled first round games at RAC Arena to be rescheduled.